I’ve never met an employee regardless of personality, tenure or vocation, that doesn’t have something valuable to say. The problem however is that no one is listening. In this age of smart phones, instant messaging and social media saturation, most leaders have lost connection with their employees. The “open door policy” has been replaced by an “online policy” yet employee engagement continues to diminish.
Employee engagement relies on communication from the top down, bottom up and across functions. Communication requires we engage in two way communications. Hint: Email or text messaging is considered one-way communication. To ensure you engage in multiple levels of communication with your employees, apply the following concepts to your employee interactions.
1. Frequency: Communications should be frequent. Never walk by an employee without acknowledging them. If you spend the majority of your day in an office or working with employees remotely, be sure to make a point of having a meaningful discussion at least once per day. Telephone and Skype are the tools of choice here.
2. Face-to-face: Even if you are working remotely it’s critical that you hold face to face discussions with employees. This might take occur during formal quarterly meetings, or in daily sharepoint or skype discussions. Face-to-face creates an emotional connection and allows for improved quality of conversations.
3. Humanity : Have you had a boss that was always business, with no pleasure? Did you enjoy meeting or speaking with them? Injecting humor sparingly and strategically improves the dialogue between leaders and employees. Employees are more at ease (and more apt to share their true concerns and questions) if they feel comfortable with their manager. Do your employees perceive you as humane or programmable corporate robot?
[Tweet “Employee engagement involves an element of emotional connection. You can’t create an emotional connection with emoticons.”]
So the next time you have a conversation with your employees, consider applying the 3 “F’s” above in order to maximize the value of the communication and engage your employees.
© Shawn Casemore 2014. All rights reserved.